The Very Virile Viking, Part 3

Learn anything about the future you are in! Just watch television!

So, it looks like I’m breaking even at about two chapters a post. Maybe I’ll push faster with this, maybe not; I’m really doing this on a “what can I handle at any given time” basis. Given that I’m told this is more on the “Erotic Fiction” side of things, there may be a whole lot in the middle that I can compress for time. Unless, of course, there are things that need to be brought to the attention of the whole.

Most likely in the form of a “Dayna Signal” section, as I did in the first part.

Anyway, this book so far has been an exercise in “WOW LOOK AT HOW CONVENIENT EVERYTHING IS”. I mean, we have:

  • The fact that Magnus gets summoned (through prayer) to the precise time and place where there is a woman.
  • Said woman HAS A FARM.
  • Said woman also has a grandmother who is all “I WANT THERE TO BE BABIES LOTS OF BABIES” which is especially funny considering:
  • He is the Very Virile Viking and can’t walk two steps without making a baby.
  • BABIES EVERYWHERE.
  • And by the way, he now has to live with her.
  • Oh, and he’s freakin’ rich.

I’m just glad that she can’t stand him and hopefully that will forever be the case. I NEED TO BELIEVE THIS.

*sob*



The very first thing I’d like to get out of the way? I’m already sick of the pseudo-phonetic misspellings of modern words and names. Magnus is from the past. He’s Norse. WE GET IT ALREADY. It was old and tired when Ax did it, and it’s just getting in the way here. It is totally messing with my immersion, you guys.

Magnus and company are staying at Angela’s condo for a few days. Her smallish condo in which she is normally the sole occupant. This is an important plot device, of course, because it allows for such hilarity as Angela coming across the freshly-showered Magnus, who promptly uses the “Hey look I’m not entirely naked underneath this towel do you want to see?” tactic. This maneuver is the Iron Lotus of Odd Couple scenarios; hard to pull off (har) but if done properly, awards bonus points.

“I am not naked,” he said. “I have wrapped one of your towels around me, and I am wearing a pair of those jaw-key shorts under that. Wouldst like to see?” He stood and was about to remove the towel.

“No!” she shouted. Holey moley! Could her heart really stand such an intimate view of six-feet, five inches of drop-dead-gorgeous bare skin and muscle?

Looks like that one will have to go to the judges.

There’s plenty of good news, though! Magnus and his kids are quickly acclimating to modern-day American English and various technology by simply watching television. They’re concepts that aren’t foreign enough to scare them – his kids in particular are delighted with teenage fashion and music – and they generally take to the 21st Century with a minimum of fuss.

I was all set to tear this apart, honestly, until I sat down and thought about it. If I was brought to the future, where there were marvels and concepts I had never even dreamed of, I’d be delighted and want to run around and try everything I could, and maybe even have some mall-related wackiness. So I really can’t fault Sandra Hill for not taking the “WHAT IS THIS DEMONRY” approach, even if it results in Magnus forbidding his children from watching Sex and the City, getting Britney Spears navel piercings, and talking like Bart Simpson.

(I have a feeling I should just make a button here on WordPress that inserts the phrase “I wish I was making this up”. It will save a lot of time.)

Despite the fact that she’s taking these ten crazy people into her home against her will, which is seriously crimping her personal life (and exponentially increasing her water bill), Angela can’t help but be taken with the loving manner in which Magnus treats his children. He’s gruff and overprotective, sure, but he treats each of them with the amount of attention they require – playful and tender with baby Lida, gruff with the teenage girls, and slightly challenging of the older boys. She also gets somewhat cryptic confirmation from Grandma Rose that they were sent to her with prayer, and she really doesn’t know what to think about that.

After three days of this, though? Everyone’s slightly crazy from being cooped up, and Magnus is suffering from not being able to vike around – despite living with a beautiful woman – and they’re all a bit frazzled, so it’s a huge relief when Angela calls from work (Magnus mastered the telephone solely to order pizza) and tells them to get ready to hit the beach.

It turns out that Our Boy Magnus and his older sons are way more of knockouts than the standard SoCal surfer dudes, because women keep propositioning them. But Magnus stays with Angela and his kids, making sandcastles and such with baby Lida, and Angela continues to be charmed by how good a father he is.

Let’s hope she never hears about him trying to Return To Sender Lida. That might not go over so well.

She’s pretty amazed to hear that he’s currently celibate, especially considering the way he looks. Even though anyone could see it’s a good idea when he has eleven children by almost as many mothers.

My mind is boggling here. A man this hot, and he’s celibate. Well, at least he’s not gay. “All those sizzling looks you keep giving me, and you are celibate?” Those words were blurted out before she had a chance to curb her tongue.

“I said that I took a vow, m’lady. I did not say that my man part fell off.”

After some rather uneventful beach wackiness and some more unsuccessful attempts at Magnus to flirt with Angela, they decide it’s finally time to head to the Vineyard, where there’s a lot more room for the family.

At last, away from the high-rises and technology of L.A.! Magnus nearly wets himself when they make it to the Blue Dragon; he can smell the freshly-tilled fields and breathe the pollution-free air of the countryside.

Grandma Rose is just as excited to see them all, of course, and she immediately starts fussing over baby Lida.

Alright, I’ll take back what I said back at the beginning; Grandma Rose is all about the babies. Baby this, baby that, when are you going to have babies Angela there really needs to be babies running about the place.

I may be a man, but I like to think of myself as somewhat of a feminist. And not a Joss Whedon “but my female characters kick a lot of ass after they’re done crying about men” feminist, an actual one. I’ve grown up with more strong female role models surrounding me than most video games combined – my mother, for one, is a kickass, take-charge kind of woman who owned her own business for 20 years, played as many sports as she was allowed to back in the 70s, and got cancer and kicked it in the testicles. My older sister may be as smart as I am but she’s got way more of a work ethic, and is a successful physics teacher with a Masters in Biomedical Engineering. My best friends have all been strong women with their own lives and success as their forefront, and didn’t for a minute think they needed a man and babies to actually be women. Many of them are married and some do have kids, but that’s just an aspect of their lives.

And yet, the lesson in this book seems to be that Angela is less than a woman because she focuses on her job instead of settling down and raising children. Grandma Rose, as awesome as she may have appeared at the beginning, only perpetuates this, to the effect that she WARPED TIME AND SPACE to get her granddaughter a man who would complete her. I have a serious problem with this concept. There’s an episode of Drawn Together that involves Princess Clara’s octopussoir having been removed and now living a life of its own with a family – the joke is that “A 39-year-old Jewish woman will marry anything“. Which…I get why a lot of women feel that way. It’s hammered into them by older relatives, chauvanistic men, society, and there’s not a lot of escape from that. I get it.

And yet, it’s 2010, and the world is a different place than it was sixty years ago. Hell, it’s a different place than it was ten years ago. Equality and acceptance keep getting brought up into the public eye, and women are more equal now than they have ever been before – and then things like this get published, where the Ideal Woman Reader Proxy is being told, time and again, that she is nothing without a man and children. Sure, she’s got a successful job – so successful that she’s the one bankrolling an entire vineyard. She’s making deals with Hollywood execs. This is an amazing position for a modern woman to be in, and yet that’s what is apparently wrong with her.

I digress. It’s a bad habit of mine, tangenting into rants like that. Back to the funny, I promise.

WOOKIEE DEFENSE TIME.


Ladies and Gentlemen of this supposed jury…

Angela is fairly upset that her grandmother and the vineyard staff have all fallen in love with Magnus, and are talking about the Italian-Viking babies that would result. This naturally cheeses her off, so naturally she decides to Have A Talk with Magnus.

This, of course, backfires, since the entire time he’s laying on that Hot Nordic Charm. It’s apparent to him that she is resisting all of his advances, and this of course makes him want her all the more. So he starts stroking her hair despite her standing up to try to walk away from him, grabbing her and pulling her closer, no matter how hard she tries to resist…

Whoa! Whoa whoa whoa whoa! BACK OFF THERE. HOLD THE GODDAMN PHONE.

After a surprised squeal of dismay at his quick maneuver, she squirmed and shoved and tried to escape his embrace. “What do you think you’re doing?”

Oh, lady, you do not really want to know. “Thanking you. I told you that I wanted to thank you for bringing me here, and this is what I am doing.”

WHAT.

This is NOT OKAY. She’s fighting you, dude. You’re a guest in her house, and she is fighting to get away from you.

And you, Angela, what the hell do you think you’re doing? FIGHT BACK HARDER. Don’t stop and wonder why he keeps complimenting you! YOU ALREADY HAD ONE ABUSIVE MARRAIGE, YOU KNOW BETTER GIRL.

I’m serious. Magnus is able to get stronger holds on her every time he compliments her and thanks her for bringing him to her home, because then she relaxes for a second while she tries to figure out if she’s happy he said it.

And then HE KISSES HER AND SHE MELTS.

I’m done. I don’t get it. I give up trying to fight it; this is apparently a thing. I don’t know WHY this is a thing, but it is and I am going to have to just roll with it. But SERIOUSLY, guys, right after my “Yay feminism and be a strong woman” rant?

*deep breath*

*another deep breath*

*as many deep breaths as it takes*

*look guys she deep breaths more so get to the side or it’s a fucking 50 DKP minus HANDLE IT*

Alright. So. I’ve now taken a few minutes to collect myself, and re-read the passages, and read ahead a tiny bit. I’ve also gotten a female perspective on these sorts of literary devices. I’m not going to get into it right now, but I accept there’s a difference between rape and ravishing, and there’s a whole conversation about that I’ll probably go into detail on later. Suffice it to say, there’s a subtle difference between being unwillingly taken and forcefully persuaded, and when a writer isn’t clear it can lead to a whole lot of shocking confusion.

Seriously, what the hell.

I’ll get into this later. Chapter’s not done but I can pick that up next post.

8 thoughts on “The Very Virile Viking, Part 3

  1. I know that there are people who enjoy this sort of allegedly cheeky, funny type of romance that doesn’t really take itself seriously.

    I am not one of those. One, because I really think the genre works better (and honestly, is even funnier) when played straight. But mostly it’s because it’s is almost always DONE SO BADLY.

    Now, on to the rape-tastic quality. There’s been rape in the genre since the beginning, and it’s been changing- you can see the change from the straight violent rape in the late-70s through the 80s, and then more along the libes of “aggressive seduction” in the late 80s-early 90s, and for the most part, in general, that’s mostly gone away- there’s a lot more enthusiastic consent on everyone’s part in the more recent books. This, having been published in 2003 is kind of an abberation to general trends.

    Which is not to say that rape never happens in more recent books- obviously it does. It’s getting better.

    • I get the whole fantasy aspect, and it’s been pointed out to me that often times, forceful men are the result of women frustrated when a man doesn’t make his move, or doesn’t even appear to be interested. For a woman to have a man so interested in her that he’ll take the first opportunity he gets and damn the torpedoes? I can see the draw in that.

      On the other hand, we’ve had a (poorly written) lighthearted book so far that deals with controlling urges, and what appeared to be heading into the “Woo her with your charm and make her pine for your fjords, and THEN conquer her beaches” territory.

      I got blindsided with “No no stop that get away”. THIS IS NOT THE BOOK I THOUGHT IT WAS GOING TO BE.

  2. First of all, the whole anti-feminist thing: I won’t claim to be a complete feminist–I like it when a guy opens a door for me, takes my coat, acts like a gentlemen, etc. On the other hand, I have a job that pays for everything I have, and am perfectly happy with the idea of becoming a “spinster aunt”, as it were. I don’t even want children (at this point in time, anyway, and definitely not without a stable relationship beforehand).

    BUT! The biological clock is a powerful, powerful thing. There was a time when EVERYONE I knew was having babies, and I could hardly walk PAST the baby aisle in Wal-Mart (let alone THROUGH it) without Mother Nature rearing her ugly head. I wanted a baby, even though logically I knew I really, really didn’t. I don’t have the time, I don’t have the patience, and I just really don’t want one, right now or anywhere in the future.

    It’s hard to explain. And from the sounds of the rest of the book, it’s not like it’s an in-depth study into the female psyche. It’s not targeted to strong, independent feminist women…it’s aimed toward housewives and mothers, who love having kids but wish someone would come along and sweep them off their feet, no matter how much they may outwardly protest. ‘They’re just putting up a front because it’s what they think they should do.’

    Or something. I’m not…really trying to defend the book, just playing devil’s advocate. Unfortunately, the she-protests-and-ineffectually-fights-him-until-he-kisses-her-and-she-melts thing is somewhat of a staple in (bad) romance fiction. Plus…she’s been in a bad relationship before, so obviously she’s not the greatest judge of character.

    • That actually makes a surprising amount of sense to me. Not having the required plumbing and attached hormones that go with it, I can’t effectively make the argument that WOMEN SHOULD BE ABLE TO RISE ABOVE THIS WHAT THE HELL. Biology does play a big part, yes.

      That said, I still get wary when even in a fictional setting – maybe even especially in a fictional setting – the idea is bandied about how a woman isn’t a woman unless she Has The Babies. Maybe it’s the result of being around hardcore badass women my whole life who have no interest in children whatsoever, and it doesn’t make them any less awesome.

      I do want to say thank you for raising the counterpoints, as it does force me to think beyond the scope of my gut reaction, which is really what this blog is about (aside from The Funny). Thank you for reading and I hope you stick around!

  3. Ah yes, the “he’s kissing me against my will but it’s okay because it feels nice” trope. Look, I actually enjoy the better-written romance novels, but that trope is a good sign of a book that I need to stop reading. Immediately. However, the woman kneeing the guy in the nuts? That’s a book I’m going to keep reading.

  4. Far be it from me to condone this type of fuckwittery, but we haven’t exactly been given evidence that our boy Magnus isn’t prone to “Aggressive Seduction”*. I mean, the guy is an admitted serial womanizer and (probable) murderer.

  5. I’m kind of trying to figure out which demographic this is aimed at.

    Background here for my own perspective thingy: I’m not a parent, but my brother is 11 years younger than I am and my stepfather left very suddenly when my mother was pregnant. I’ve been more or less Sam’s second parent-type-person since he was born. I love that little boy, but he drives me up the wall. Trufax conversation from today:
    Sam: So in Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, why do you always think it’s so funny when they sing *sqeaky voice* All The Single Ladies?

    Me: Sam, you know I like that song and I think the Chipettes are cute. But, sweetie, we’re moving and I’m trying to put up shelves so that everyone’s books and toys can go on them and look nice. Could you please watch your movie while I do this?

    Sam: EXACT SAME QUESTION ABOUT EIGHT TIMES

    Me: SAM STOP ASKING ME THE SAME QUESTION OVER AND OVER AGAIN, WE HAVE HAD THIS TALK. I JUST WANT TO PUT UP SHELVES AND HAVE A NAP! GO DO SOMETHING IN YOUR ROOM OR I WILL RIP OFF YOUR ARM AND BEAT YOU OVER THE HEAD WITH IT.

    I don’t want children because I think that doing a good job would make me miserable and it’d be wrong to go into something knowing that or planning to do a half-assed job. I’m too selfish. I like spending my extra money on me. I’ve seen the sacrifices my mother made to give me and my siblings the things that we wanted or needed.

    ANYWAY, coming to my point here:

    It’s been said (I forget by who exactly, but I want to say Cleolinda or perhaps by someone commenting on her blog) said with that bit in Breaking Dawn about “We’re the only parents in the world who don’t need to sleep and our baby sleeps through the night SO LET’S HAVE LOTS OF HOT SEX” sounds a lot like something that would appeal a lot to somebody who is married (or otherwise in a relationship) with a child and DEAR GOD I HAVE NO SLEPT IN DAYS. (God, I just remembered when Sam had colic and I was only 11 then. I thought I had repressed those memories.)

    But . . . kids are annoying enough when they’re your own kids and you love them. I can not really picture wanting to have 9 of them around, period, though some people like the idea of a big family, but complete strangers’ kids? I had a babysitting gig as a teenager that involved watching 7 kids (two families) for one night. I’m convinced to this day it was the eighth circle of hell.

    That’s not to say I can’t see coming to love children as if they were your own, but it’s not an instantaneous process. (Even if they ARE it isn’t an instantaneous process – I’ve known more than one new parent who was freaked because he or she didn’t feel an instant SUPER CLOSE ATTACHMENT to their baby that they’re socialized to believe should happen automatically.) Can she even remember all their names? Do all of them even HAVE names? This all seems to be focused on Magnus FertileLoins looking hot and “Oh hey, there are kids over there doing . . . things. Whatever.” It’s not like she’s really doing any Parental Bonding Type Things with any of them. (Or not insofar as you’ve described anyway and I am not going to check because while my library apparently has it, I refuse to be seen checking this book out or having it on my account history.)

    And you know, in modern times we have these nifty things called Birth Control. Look, I get that he is supernaturally fertile, but condoms and the pill together have a pretty good success rate. Maybe give that a try? Earlier in the book it sounds like Magnus would have loved to have a vasectomy or something so he could plow all the fields he wants without MORE CHILDREN. Does he even want more? It sounds like he’s pretty much bailed on all the mothers what with Lida’s whole Return To Sender thing. (If she was a prostitute, how did she know she was his to be shipped to? Was he just THAT DAMNED MEMORABLE?)

    And, to be a bit blunt, with different ideas about sexuality and all that a thousand years ago, do we know if Magnus is actually any good in bed? I mean I’ve HEARD anyway – and this is anecdotal – that many extremely attractive (modern) guys aren’t all that great with the whole pleasing the other person part, as some tend to lean far too heavily on the LOOK AT ME I AM HOT part.

    And how do we know he doesn’t have some kind of horrifying non-existant-in-the-present-day strain of some STI just because his man-parts haven’t dropped off? Or ANY disease really. I guess it’s just part of WHALE MAGIC that none of them have either caught or been a carrier for . . . what were big diseases 1000 years ago? Smallpox, I guess? Um . . . not sure about other stuff, but there had to be tons more. (Yes, I think about things like this with time travel. I LIKE time travel. YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN YOU MIGHT GET TIME TRAVLED BECAUSE OF WHALES AND THIS COULD BE USEFUL KNOWLEDGE.)

    So yes, I guess I’m having a hard time seeing where “Hi, being hot is like, my one redeeming quality. Oh, and I am a fucking baby-making MACHINE. I see you have a vineyard. I have 11 kids but two of them are back in The Norselands so it’s only nine. Yeah, I don’t really know who any of their mothers are. At least one died from the brothel disease.” I’m not really seeing the appeal here for ANYBODY.

    Angela, this guy is not going to be good for you. And STFU Grandma Rose and just be happy with the granddaughter you have.

    On to the second point:
    DO NOT WANT.

    I DO understand the appeal of non-con/dub-con situations from a fantasy point of view. FROM A FANTASY POINT OF VIEW. It’s a valid kink and ultimately it’s you, the fantasizer, who is in control of things and that is a whole other can or worms than ACTUAL rape.

    Maybe there need to be warning labels on these books: “Warning, may contain potentially triggering content”? Because I can see a situation where you want a romance novel but you want a specific type of seduction going on where NO MEANS NO, SERIOUSLY.

  6. Not to say that the forceful seduction thing isn’t disturbing — it is — but I think some of the reviews of Old Skool Romance from over on Smart Bitches, Trashy Books would be useful to you, for perspective. Specifically, this one. Then again, maybe not; it’s pretty funny watching you run into these tropes completely unprepared.

    (Hi Redheadedgirl! I was going to link that before I even saw you here.)

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